The Orions: Legend of Wizards Strategy Guide & Thorough Spell & Creature Chart

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You may already have heard of Orions: Legend of Wizards, without doubt the best Windows Mobile game released so far this year - and, I'd say, the best turn-based strategy game for the Windows Mobile game ever released. It’s one of the very few games you MUST buy – believe me, if you don’t mind wasting some time on learning the rules and getting known the cards, you WILL love it.

There already are some Orions: Legend of Wizards reviews out there; I really recommend that of Ben Stanley here, that of Doug Goldring here, that of Allistair Lee here and that of nonstandardized here. I've also posted some remarks / comments on the first two reviews in their Comments section, which may also be worth checking out.

What I have always wanted to do is creating an objective, easy-to-use, chart-based unit / spell comparison as I did some 8.5-9 years ago for Blizzard's Starcraft (I’ve published quite a few articles on Starcraft, the different units etc., mostly in a similar, tabular format). Knowing what your creatures and spells are capable of and when they are best used is the best way to beat your opponent. Therefore, what I present here is not “another†generic review, but more of a supplement to all these already-existing reviews, containing a lot of never-before-published, “advanced†stuff.

Please note that the rest of this guide assumes you already know the game at least at a basic level. That is, I won't explain how the cards are placed in the empty slots / spaces, how spells should be used, what elements there are, how the cards are randomly selected in Duel and need to be purchased in Campaign etc. This guide is written for players that do know the basics of the game and only need some expert gaming help, recommendation, strategy advice & clarification. If you need a quick recap, please read, strategy-wise, Doug Goldring's review and the comments.

As with other, decent strategy games like Starcraft (let’s now forget that Starcraft is a real-time strategy game, not a turn-based one – a decent Starcraft player will still play Starcraft as a turn-based strategy game and will always beat a less experienced player doing less turn based-like micromanagement), every unit and spell has a counter-unit or spell of, in general, less (!) price. This means if you have all or most of the recommended cards, you will be able to, to a certain degree, successfully counter-attack the cards / spells of your enemy. Everything depends on how thoroughly you know what spells and creatures you and your enemy have, what they are particularly sensitive to and what are the sometimes very important side-effects of summiting a card (in most cases, adding HP to friendly and/or stealing HP from enemy cards).

Yes, this game, strategy-wise, is as advanced as, say, Starcraft, which also requires a lot of learning to become a decent player. This also means you’ll need at least a week to master this game – assuming you play at least 2-3 hours a day (which isn’t a hard thing to do because the title is so damn enticing and gripping – you’ll love pulling out your PDA to continue playing while, say, you’re waiting for something, particularly if you can also enable the in-game music).

Unfortunately, the in-game creature / spell explanations are, in general, far from verbose and, in some cases, are very hard to understand (see for example the in-game explanation “Steal Spell†of Death / Darklord). As, after playing the game a LOT, I know all these units and spells, this was also one of the reasons I’ve spent quite a lot of time compiling this chart (and writing this guide). I hope it is WAY more informative and cleaner than the in-game help, particularly when it comes to comparing and mentioning the alternatives to a given unit / spell (particularly enemy owner HP decreasing-wise).

The chart can be found here. Make sure you open it in a maximized browser window.

I don’t think much explanation is needed for the chart; therefore, I only elaborate on some of its columns. Let me know if the meaning of some of the columns can’t be understood; then, in a later version of this guide, I’ll elaborate on them too.

The most important column will be the “Recommended?†one. In there, I’ve explained whether the card is recommended and if it is, when, under what circumstances you must consider using it. This column is of extreme importance to achieve the goal I’ve outlined above: to find the cheapest and, therefore, most economical solution for a given task. For example, if your opponent summons a Death / Grim Reaper, which costs 12 Death points, you can easily counter-attack this creature by quickly summoning Life / Paladin and casting Exorcizm. In addition to having only spent 8+2 Life points (that is, 2 less than with the enemy’s Death spell) on the summoning and the casting, you will still have a moderately-strong (4 damage done to non-Death opponents) Paladin with (still) 10 HP on the board, also ready to quickly kill (via the above-mentioned Exorcizm spell) another Death creature. Now, think of how much it would have cost you to get rid of Grim Reaper WITHOUT relying on Life / Paladin (and, assuming, you don’t have (or, currently can’t afford) Air / Black Wind or Fire / Fireball, two of the other, excellent instant killer spells) – yes, you would have spent much more. (Incidentally, this is how a decent Starcraft player, putting special emphasis on casting advanced spells, plays. A simple Plague spell from the Zerg Defiler can cause, resource-, micromanagement- and time-wise, orders of magnitude more loss to the enemy than the original price of a single Defiler, even including climbing the tech tree to be able to produce it at all.)

Also, in order to make looking up information as quick as possible, I’ve also tried to separate information belonging to different categories. For example, this is why I’ve created a separate column about “Increasing / decreasing elementalâ€. For example, if you need to quickly look up which creature will help in increasing an elemental (mostly the one it’s belonging to, except for Life / Apostate, which increases Death instead of its Life home element), you just look at this column in the section of the given elemental (sections, in order to save horizontal screen estate, are separated in the first column; I’ve denoted a new elemental section with bold there) and search for any entry. For example, if you look at the Water section, you’ll see there are two creatures to increase Water: Nixie and Ice Wizard. (While the otherwise very strong Hydra will actually decrease it each turn by two – until it reaches zero. I’ve also included these cases in here.)

Another example: when you want to be absolutely sure you summon a creature to an empty slot, you choose the slot (the opposing creature) taking the “Particularly vulnerable to...†column into account. For example, if there is an empty slot with an opposing Fire (enemy) unit, you won’t want to put a Water / Ice Wizard or Ice Guard in there because they sustain 200% damage from any Fire creatures or spells. Taking this further, you will also want to consult the “Immune to...†column in there to see whether there are any creatures immune to Fire creatures (as can clearly be seen, Red Drake is, in addition to the well-known, low-cost example of Earth / Forest Spirit). Finally, you’ll also want to consult the “Delivers extra damage to..." column to see whether there are any creatures (or spells) that deliver some extra damage to Fire creatures. (As can clearly be seen, Water / Nixie is one of them; that is - if you don’t use any modifiers like Earth / Dryad in the next slot or Fire / Salamander anywhere else - it’ll deliver 2*3, that is, 6 damage.)

Similarly, if you need to counter-attack a very powerful Water creature spending as little money as possible with the best outcome, you (in addition to the joker-of-all-trades Earth / Forest Spirit, preferably backed up with an Earth / Dryad in the next slot in order to bump up its attack by not less than 2) may want to look up a unit immune to Water spells / creatures. Just a quick glance at “Immune to…â€: yes, Water / Ice Wizard (only 1 damage only taken from any enemy Water unit) is one of your best choices in this case. (Let’s only hope that, seeing this, your enemy won’t use Fire spells like Fire Spikes or – for you, even worse – Fireball to quickly get rid of your Ice Wizard - don’t forget the two ice-based Water creatures are particularly sensitive to fire. Or, it won’t use a cheap, but, in this case, pretty powerful (2*2 base damage to Ice Wizard and Guard) Fire / Cerberus in the next slot of the opposing one in order to protect it from your direct attack.)

Also, if you quickly want to further decrease the health of the enemy’s owner but don’t have (currently – because of the lack of elemental points – access to) the traditional HP decreasing spells like Death / Steal Life, just summoning a middle-priced Death / Banshee will inflict 8 damage to the enemy owner right at summoning. In order to quickly find this information, you’ll need to scrutinize both the “Increasing / decreasing opponent health†and the “Effect on enemy owner†columns (these columns are pretty similar in meaning; I still wanted to keep them separate to better separate spell- and unit-based damage).

Note that the “Price when produced†column refers to the Campaign mode. In Dual mode, it has no meaning as, unfortunately, you can only have 4 randomly selected cards in each element in Dual games. This is one of the most annoying shortcomings of the game, in addition to, in Campaign mode, 1. the inability to destroy buildings and 2. to get rid of unwanted cards in order to be able to purchase other ones. Implementing a solution to the latter two would be really beneficial because you can easily reach the maximal number of the structures on a given Orion (see the PS section below) and you will always want to use other cards than is currently available. I will definitely ask the More Games Entertainment folks to add the possibility of more cards for example playing Dual games – it’ll greatly enhance for example multiplayer gaming.

PS: just a remark. None of the reviews I’ve read so far mentioned the fact that you can’t build an unlimited number of structures on a given Orion. This MUST be kept in mind when you, for example, in Hard games, only possess 2-3 Orions and allocate most of your experience points to, as is also discussed at the comment section here, “Power†in order to quickly get some of the better cards, even at the beginning of the game, as the only way to defeat much better opponents. Then, if you fill up your words with resource harvesters / converters like in this screenshot, after reaching the building number threshold, you won’t be able to build anything else (see this screenshot showing this), even when there would still be plenty of space to build your new structures on.

Incidentally, the screenshot above also shows the optimal number of each resource harvester / converter. As can clearly be seen, you’ll need the most Crysols harvesters to bump up Crysols production (otherwise, an Orion only produces 20 Crysols a day). The number of Sulmors converters should be slightly (about 50-70%) less than those of the Crysols harvesters. Then, the number of Goldius converters should be about 5-15% of that of the Crysols harvesters, while Eractus converters should be about 2-4%. If you fill up 2-3 Orions (almost) entirely with resource harvesters / converters, you won’t likely to ever run into resource shortage – actually, most of the time, your Crysols will still remain at 9999 (the maximal level).

PS 2: as you may have already noticed, in the chart, I’m referring to the six elementals using italic; also, when referring to a particular spell / creature card, I always name the elemental it belongs to so that you can more easily find it. Finally, when referring to a spell of a particular creature, I also mention the creature, along with its elemental to greatly speed up the lookup.

UPDATE (03/17/2007): PocketGamer frontpage

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